Stovetop Espresso 101

Do you love espresso? But do you find it hard to make good espresso at home?  Especially if you don’t like the cost of buying them on a regular basis. You probably don’t want to invest in a bulky, expensive machine for your home (what are they, plated with gold or something)? If you’re a fan of espresso but not the price tag that comes with it, it’s time to consider getting a stovetop espresso maker.

We are here to provide you with a rundown on how to make stovetop espresso. We’ll break down a short, simple, and sweet – at least, if you’re into added sweetener – set of stovetop espresso maker instructions, so you can enjoy the perfect cup of espresso on the cheap, whenever you want.

How To Use A Stovetop Espresso Maker: A Step By Step Guide

Let’s get started on how to use your stovetop espresso maker with these simple steps:

Step 1. Prepare Your Coffee Maker

First separate your stovetop espresso maker into its three parts:

  • The lower portion for the water
  • The filter for the coffee grounds
  • The upper chamber for the finished coffee

Step 2. Grind The Coffee

You will need to grind the coffee on a fairly coarse setting. The typical finer grind that is perfect for espresso is not always a great choice for the Moka pot, as it can leak and cause issues.

Step 3. Add in Water

Fill the lower part of your stovetop espresso coffee maker chamber with cold, filtered water. Be sure not to fill it past the safety valve!

Step 4. Add In The Coffee Grounds:

Take the filter basket and fill it all the way with coffee grounds. Make sure it is full! This is an important step, as under-filling it can cause you to have some brewing issues. Once you have a filter basket full of coarsely ground coffee, move on to Step #5!

Step 5. Reassemble The Unit

You’re almost ready to make your coffee! All that’s left is to put your stovetop espresso maker back together. First, place the filter back into the water-filled lower part of the unit. Then screw the top part on well.

PRO TIP: Do not over tighten the top chamber! Most threaded metal devices, particularly ones that come equipped with a gasket like this, do not require excessive force. Just make sure it is firmly tightened and head on to the next step!

Step 6. Add Heat!

This step is simple. Place the stovetop espresso maker on the stovetop, turn on the stove, and wait for the water to come to a boil. Most units are fairly small, so it shouldn’t take too much time.

Be sure not to wander off, because you need to be present when it does start to boil. If using a gas stove, be careful the flame doesn’t melt the plastic handle.

Step 7. Serve And Enjoy:

Once you hear a gurgling sound, that’s the cue that the water has made the short, hot trip north and has filled the upper chamber with some delicious coffee.

Once you hear gurgling, remove the maker from the stove and pour!

PRO TIP: Don’t leave the coffee on the burner for more than a few seconds after the gurgling begins, as one of the prime dangers of making espresso this way is getting a burnt taste due to overheating during the brewing process.​​

Other Methods For Making “Moka” Coffee

Making coffee in a Moka pot might seem like a straightforward process, but you can actually make it in several different ways. Sure, they’re all similar to the method from the guide we just provided. But, they are all different.

What The Heck Is A ‘Moka Pot’?

Alright, it’s time to get a little technical: we’re not actually making espresso here. When you are using a stovetop espresso makeryou are actually making Moka coffee in a Moka pot (another name for a stovetop espresso maker). Gasp! Say it isn’t so!

While Moka coffee is still similar to espresso, it’s not quite the same as the espresso made with an espresso machine. The main difference is that Moka coffee is missing the more aerated crema texture, as the water is not forced through the grounds at the same high pressure as an espresso would be.

However, for the sake of this post and the fact that stovetop espresso makers are often referred to as Moka pots and vice versa, we’re going to use the two names interchangeably. Just remember that they’re not exactly the same!

If you’re wondering how the stovetop coffee maker works, How It Works explained the process perfectly:

When the moka pot is placed on the stove, the water heats up and generates steam. This increases the pressure in the bottom chamber and pushes the water up through the coffee granules and into the top chamber where it is ready to be poured.

By the way, stovetop espresso makers (or moka pots) are sometimes called coffee percolators. While both coffee makers share some similarities, they’re actually a bit different.

Caffeine Levels In Stove Top Espresso Coffee

While many coffee drinkers genuinely enjoy each and every cup of joe, the reality is that most of us have a secondary motive in mind: caffeine.

So, what is the Moka coffee caffeine content and what is the difference between Moka vs espresso caffeine levels? Here are some facts for average caffeine content in three different coffee options:

  • Cup of coffee (8 oz) = 105 mg of caffeine
  • Shot of Moka coffee (2 oz) = 105 mg of caffeine
  • Shot of espresso (2 oz) = 93 mg of caffeine

So an 8oz cup of coffee has the same amount of caffeine found in a quarter the amount of Moka coffee, while an equally sized shot made with an espresso machine has even less. That’s right: a shot of Moka pot coffee has more caffeine than a shot of espresso!

Moka coffee can tend to over-extract from the coffee grounds compared to an espresso. So be prepared to have some stronger coffee with a higher caffeine content than usual. Drink responsibly!